WAG – Rwanda’s Foster Shelter for Dogs

By: Heather

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Did you know Kigali, Rwanda has a dog rescue organization? It’s called WAG, and they’re changing the lives of abandoned/street puppies and local animal lovers throughout Kigali and abroad. We first learned of this organization in the winter of 2014 and added it to our must-visit locations in Rwanda.

We spent one afternoon visiting the WAG main location and one afternoon visiting a foster home housing seven absolutely adorable puppies (all of whom are up for adoption). Both visits were a ton of fun, and we were able to learn a bit more about this growing shelter.

Curious puppy.

Heather playing with some puppies.

WAG was founded by expat Frances Klinck in 2013. Frances and her husband, Dan, were consistently rescuing puppies from the streets of Kigali and trying to find homes for them using local social media sites Living in Kigali and Kigali Life. As the homeless dog population grew, the Klinck’s recognized they would need to take even more initiative and create a formal organization to provide assistance to these animals. In other words, this couple took it upon themselves to save the street puppies of Kigali, educate and influence to change the current anti-dog local mindset, and they are doing a fantastic job of it.

Although, most of their efforts are focused on rescuing puppies in need they have supported a few adult dog rescues in the past. They are currently working on securing a larger shelter space and additional ways to obtain donations. Once the area has been found and secured, they will be able to re-evaluate their adult dog rescue policy.

WAG dog tag.

WAG care taker and his flock.

WAG is entirely run by volunteers and donations from the international public. They receive $0 in any kind of government or additional funding. They are in the process of becoming a registered organization and once approved they will be able to apply for grant funding, but the funds may be minimal. They depend on your donations to save the growing population of puppies in Rwanda. Currently, they have three volunteers – 2 managing adoptions and social media and 1 working to secure a new shelter space to help house the dogs needing homes. They also have three foster families who are hosting 11 puppies and one mother between them. The number of volunteers and foster homes available varies at any given time. They are continually looking for more volunteers and foster homes.

Puppy on alert.

Puppy resting.

Puppy napping on other puppy.

Puppy in a dog bed.

Overall, WAG has been positively received by their local community. Rwanda ideals are slowly changing, but it had been a place where animals were not seen as companions, instead animals were only for protection or food. WAG is helping to educate the public and spread the word that dogs can make wonderful family members. They have had some resistance with those who do not understand why anyone would choose to help an animal when there are so many humans in need. To those criticizers, please know that the WAG supporters’ value ALL life. They are simply helping animals AND helping people in other ways.

WAG could use your support! Below are several ways you can help WAG save Rwanda’s street pups.

Here are ways YOU can help WAG
WAG Contact Info
Found a Stray Puppy – Contact WAG

If someone finds a stray puppy that needs help, they should take it in and email us to see if we have the capacity to take on the animal at that time. Usually even if we don’t have an opening, we can provide advice on how to care for the puppy and will advertise it on our Facebook page to try to help find a home.

Child carrying puppy.

Want to Donate to the Wish List – Contact WAG for delivery location

WAG loves donations of treats, dog toys, bedding, useable housing, leashes, and collars.

Want to Donate Money – Donate at PayPal using wag.kigali@gmail.com

Any money that is donated goes towards the care of our dogs (boarding of some of our adults, medical care, and food) and will start going towards our shelter space once that is established.

Volunteer – Contact WAG

They are in particularly in need of volunteers with the below skill sets:

Many people want to play with and walk the dogs. While that is helpful, and the pups love it, WAG appreciates volunteers that can help to develop the organization. We appreciate people who are willing to help with communications and outreach (photographing the dogs, making fliers, promoting adoptions), fundraising and institutional development (helping us put in place systems for tracking the dogs care, helping us identify and set up a shelter space). The more volunteers we have, the more initiatives WAG can take on!

Want to Adopt – Contact WAG

There is no adoption fee, but WAG highly appreciates a donation that will at least cover the costs of initial vaccinations (estimated 12,000 – 30,000 Rfw or $16-$42 USD)

You don’t have to live in Kigali to adopt a dog in need. WAG has experience moving dogs throughout Rwanda and internationally. Contact WAG for logistics and pricing details.

Check their website for available dogs.

Puppy and lady giving nose kisses.

WAG Adoption Criteria:
  1. The adopter has to want to adopt the dog as a COMPANION dog and not a guard dog. This means that the dog has to be loved and can’t be caged up for the majority of its life.
  1. The adopter has to be willing to provide a forever home for the dog. This means that the adopter has to be committed to the dog and not try to get rid of it if there is a problem that can be addressed through training. If the adopter is an expat, then the dog should go with the owner when the adopter leaves the country and not be left behind.
  1. The adopter has to be willing to spay or neuter the dog. WAG can provide local adopters with veterinarian referrals.
  1. Additional information that will need to be provided by potential adopter: How will the dog be cared for? What will the dog be fed? Is everyone in the family & household comfortable with dogs? Where will the dog sleep? Will the dog receive medical care?

Although some specifics may have changed in the past year, an interesting read about dog ownership in Kigali can be found here.

Puppy chewing on older dogs leash.

Do you have a creative idea how you can help WAG? Please share it in the comments.

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Comments 3

  1. Hi, I’m a vet in New Zealand and have recently returned from a 2 weeks trip to Rwanda. While I was there I heard that the roaming dog population was starting to increase. While visiting Aspire I met a Scottish women, Elle, who mentioned that there may be a need for vets to spey dogs to help in dog control.
    Is this needed? We could look at getting a team of 2-3 vets/nurse to come across and spend a couple of weeks desexing animals if that would help? I would need a few months to fund raise and organise so it would be May/June next year before we could get back to Kigali.
    Let me know what you think.

    Cheers

    Ben Davidson
    Rangiora Vet Centre

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